Local Limelight: Lyrics Born

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That’s right, no more This Week in Sound. I know this is a hefty blow for most of you. Luckily, This Week in Sound has been moved to the music section of This Week in Arts. This blog will now be dedicated to the second portion of my former blog, Local Limelight, bringing you some of the best artists and bands from the Bay Area.

This week, I bring you Berkeley’s own Lyrics Born. The Japanese-Italian/Jewish-American rapper moved to Berkeley at the age of 6 and attended Berkeley High, Bishop O’Dowd and St. Mary’s High School all before going to UC Davis, where his hip-hop career began.

The rapper is known for his complex rhythmic patterns and rhyming techniques, as well as “em-singing,” a term he coined for combining rap flows with vocal melodies. Lyrics Born also makes up one half of the group known as Latyrx with fellow Bay Area rapper Lateef the Truth Speaker.

Although he hasn’t released a studio album since 2010, Lyrics Born has had his hand in numerous projects, from doing radio work at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to being a voice-over announcer for Cartoon Network.

You can download his new single “I Wanna B W/U” from his website here. Here’s “Callin’ Out,” one of his singles from 2003:

If you still dig Lyrics Born, he’ll be coming to SF in October, and Oakland in November.


Ian Birnam is the lead music critic. Contact him at [email protected].